Von Maur and Mattel face PR challenges

Ragan.com examines the public response following the Omaha mall shooting spree and Mattel’s ongoing recall of lead-tainted toys.

Ragan.com examines the public response following the Omaha mall shooting spree and Mattel’s ongoing recall of lead-tainted toys

Visions of sugar plum fairies dancing should be in our head. Instead, holiday cheer has given way to holiday fear. A random, senseless shooting at a mall and the recall of millions of toys tainted with lead paint make it a questionable quarter for the retail industry. That’s not good news for a market sector largely dependent upon year-end sales.

On Dec. 5, holiday shoppers were given one more reason to stay at home when yet another crazy American teen went on a shooting spree—this time at the Von Maur Department Store in Omaha, Neb. It’s a sad state of affairs when youth believe that a day of infamy is the Holy Grail, but that’s another story altogether.

Von Maur responded instantly, and Ragan.com was impressed to hear the family-owned regional retailer respond with heartfelt compassion. Contacted by a reporter immediately after the tragedy, company president Jim von Maur expressed shock and grief. He said his heart went out to employees and shoppers alike.

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